I had the oppourtunity to comment today on a story being written for U.S. News and World Report about the new SAT policy that will allow students to pick which sets of scores colleges will receive. There are times when I feel like I’ve landed in a Seinfeld rerun with a long discussion going on about absolutely nothing.
Even though my good friend from the College of Charleston has already posted on this topic, I just can’t help sharing as well. As I understand the policy, (you can check it out yourself in this L.A. Times article) students can only select which scores to send (or not send) by date, not by specific subsection. As a result, I think this change is fairly insignificant. SAT plays an increasingly diminished role in college admissions. This is evidenced not just by the large number of schools follwing George Mason University into score optional policies, but also by institutions using the tests more appropriately, which is to say giving them weight according to their predictive value as compared with past academic performance. More importantly, colleges and universities use the best scores from a stduent no matter how many times he or she may have taken the test. There is no doubt there are rare extreme cases of those taking the test 10 or 15 times, but even then it is a rare institution that won’t want to take advanatge of a higher score. What this is most likely going to do is encourage those with means to take more tests. This probably won’t affect their scores much, or change admissions results to any large degree, but it is more likely to produce greater income from the tests, increase stress over advising on this policy at the high school level, and increase perceptions of disparity in the admissions process.
What kind of future announcements might we expect? Maybe they’ll have a new policy that you can pay extra to have your name sent to thousands of schools for potential scholarship opporunities! That would be great since they already do it without charging you by selling your name and information to colleges and universities that want to recruit you. This is the kind of innovative thinking we need in education – ways to get you to pay more without getting any more. Be seeing you.